Wednesday, August 29, 2012

David Schweikert Clinches CD6

Rep. David Schweikert talks to a supporter during his victory party in Phoenix Tuesday night.

The primary battle between David Schweikert and Ben Quayle turned out to be the most interesting political battle of Arizona's 2012 primary season. Both men have strong conservative credentials and Tea Party leanings. Schweikert has experience (former country treasurer and state legislator), Quayle has name recognition (his father is former Vice President Dan Quayle). Quayle also brought baggage to the race. He helped create and then contributed to an adult oriented website called Dirty Scottsdale using the nom de plume "Brock Landers." In the end, I don't think his affiliation with thedirty.com cost him the election, but it certainly didn't help.   

Both were freshman Congressman thrown into the same district because of the redistricting process after the 2010 census, which is what set up their primary battle. 

Their race garnered national attention and was hard fought. Both men painted themselves as the true conservative and tried to paint the other as moderate, or worse, supporting the President's stimulus plan. 

Schweikert took an early lead in the vote count and maintained it through the night. Quayle conceded about 9:45PM, Schweikert claimed victory shortly afterwards. 

I started the night at Jeff Flake's victory party for the US Senate primary. Against a political newcomer, Flake was heavily favored to win, so I didn't wait there for actual results. I left Flake's party after I made a few photos. I drove to Quayle's party in Scottsdale and as soon as it became clear to me that Quayle was losing, I headed over to Schweikert's party. 

It was the right decision. Although the race tightened up through the evening, Schweikert won.

Anticipating victory, Schweikert moved casually through the large crowd in his campaign office, chatting with supporters, talking to reporters and monitoring election results. Because I've photographed him so often this summer, Congressman Schweikert knows me. He graciously let me photograph him in "behind the scenes" moments in his "command post" (where the candidates watch results come in) and in private phone moments with his opponent and closest advisors. It's the kind of access you only get when your subject knows you. 

I finished up at Congressman Schweikert's office about 10:15PM and finished editing about 3:30 Wednesday morning.